Did you know that approximately 27% of pet owners don’t take their animals to the vet every year? A significant number do make appointments but fail to show up. Unfortunately, clients failing to attend their sessions has various consequences.
First, it reduces vet practices’ revenues, leading to losses if costs are more than income. Second, it wastes resources and your veterinary practice team’s time.
While getting a 100% show-up rate is difficult, you can apply various methods to reduce no-shows. This measure will also help you forecast revenues and budget accordingly.
Here, we discuss five strategies that you can use to reduce no-show veterinary appointments. We also explain ways to implement various policies while avoiding negative results, like losing clients.

1. Request a Deposit

One ideal way to reduce no-show veterinary appointments is by asking pet owners to pay a deposit when booking their sessions. This amount can be a percentage of the expected cost. For instance, if you charge $50 for a routine checkup, you may request $10 as a deposit.
If a client doesn’t specify the services that they need, you can ask them to pay a percentage of the consultation fee.
The main benefit of requiring a deposit is it reduces the number of unsure clients booking appointments. It also simplifies scheduling your day because you can quickly determine the number of patients to expect.

2. Charge a No-Show Fee

Some pet owners don’t prioritize vet visits and miss them due to being busy with other activities. Others postpone critical procedures like getting a vaccination, risking their animals’ health.
Charging a no-show fee is a suitable way to reduce missed appointments. Since implementing such a policy can lead to pushback, it’s vital to notify your clients beforehand.
Create newsletters and emails explaining the reason for this move. Mention the amount that you will charge as a no-show fee, and specify if it will apply to all types of appointments.
Share these missives with your clients and ask them to confirm delivery. It’s also advisable to request their feedback and to respond to all concerns.
When implementing a no-show fee, it’s best to offer a grace period. This measure will give pet owners a certain amount of time to notify you if they can’t make it to the session.
An ideal grace period should be approximately two or three days, though you can offer twenty-four- or twelve-hour exemptions for those who can’t show up due to emergencies.

3. Send Appointment Reminders

While most pet owners fail to attend appointments due to alternative activities, others simply forget their sessions. If you experience this issue in your practice, get software with reminder features. Then, ask your clients to install the solution and help them set it up.
You may send reminders the day of the appointment or several hours before the scheduled time. You can also utilize pop-up notifications to ensure that pet owners will get the messages even when they do not log into the app.
Sending appointment reminders is a simple way to reduce no-shows while showing your clients that you care. This measure also helps you boost engagement and encourages pet owners to use your other vet practice software features. These may include billing and accessing electronic medical records.

4. Call Pet Owners before Their Appointments

While sending reminders can lower veterinary no-shows, it may not be fully effective. Some pet owners may not check their phones regularly. The best way to increase show-up rates is by complementing text reminders with phone calls.
Keep a detailed record of booked appointments and include pet owners’ phone numbers. Then, liaise with your staff to contact clients the day before their visits. This step will help you determine if they are aware of their appointment day and time.
You can also provide special instructions for preparing the pet for various procedures. For instance, if they need surgery, ask the owner to ensure that the pet fasts for the recommended period. Alternatively, inform them to bring their pet’s favorite toys to reduce anxiety during checkups.

5. Encourage Online Booking

Booking appointments physically or on a call can lead to confusion. Pet owners may not recall the time or date and then fail to show up for the session.
If your clients constantly forget their appointments, get a solution that supports online booking. Such software will enable them to confirm their session. They can also use it to determine when they last visited your office and book appointments at suitable times.
Another benefit of a solution with an online booking feature is that it gives pet owners easy access to medical records. This prevents missing referral visits when they forget to carry hardcopy reports.

Get Practice Software to Reduce No-Show Veterinary Appointments

Adopting the proper practice software can reduce no-shows. Asteris has a solution to simplify managing a veterinary office. With its tool, you can streamline the diagnosis and referring of patients.
These best practices will ultimately improve patient experiences and lower the number of forgetful pet owners who don’t show up for their appointments.
Here at Asteris, it’s our goal to help veterinarians make sound medical decisions with ease, clarity, and confidence by giving them the tools and insights that they need to optimize the way they work.
If you’re ready to stop feeling like there’s not enough time in your day, we can help you optimize your imaging processes and the way you work. Contact our specialists today to get started!